'Wait and see' - Winston Peters on next challenge as NZ First fails to enter Parliament

Election 2020 sees the defeat of Winston Peters and NZ First as the party sunk below the Parliamentary threshold and hopes pinned on Shane Jones in Northland turned out to be futile.

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The NZ First leader has addressed a small crowd of supporters at the Duke of Marlborough in Russell. Source: 1 NEWS

The party won just 2.7% of the vote in the preliminary results last night, with Jones trailing significantly behind in Northland with only 11.5 per cent of the electorate vote. During the election campaign, a Serious Fraud Office investigation saw two people, who were not NZ First MPs, candidates or current members charged in connection to the New Zealand First Foundation case.

Peters entered the halls of power as a young National MP in 1978. 

Last night wasn't the first time Peters had been booted from Parliament, with the former deputy Prime Minister marking 40 years since his maiden speech just last year. 

"What is my New Zealand?" he asked Parliament at the time, after winning the Hunua seat. "It begins with my family."

"My father is a Māori elder and my mother is a Scot."

"I am New Zealander, I am a Māori, and I am also a lawyer. New Zealand is not a monotonous garden where every flower is the same; it is a garden where the diversity of the blooms enriches the view."

It was not a long stint in Parliament, however, with Peters being ousted from his seat in 1981, before a 1984 return in the Tauranga seat.

A fall-out with then Prime Minister Jim Bolger saw him form New Zealand First in 1993, making a splash with the Winebox Inquiry, with  Peters bringing "the documents at the centre of the allegations to Parliament in a winebox", according to the National Library.

He held the balance of power in 1996 before being cut out in a shift of power by National's Jenny Shipley and in 2017, seeing him take on deputy Prime Minister roles. 

"It has been a hard road to Parliament, and in my case an extraordinary hard road," Peters said, 40 years ago, concluding his maiden speech.

"Today I say to the people of my electorate that I will work hard for them, not just in 1979, but year after year, I wish to renew that pledge."

The twice-kingmaker was booted from Parliament for a fourth time last night after which he addressed his supporters, thanking his voters and volunteers. 

"Elections are about democracy, and what the people wish and we should never stop trusting the people who we are privileged to serve in whatever capacity and for however long. 

"For 27 years, there has been one party that has been prepared to question the establishment and challenge authority and tonight more than ever, that force is still needed. As for the next challenge, we'll all have to wait and see."